Omega 3 fish oil EPA Slows Progress of Atherosclerosis in Diabetic Patients

EPA Slows Progress of Atherosclerosis in Diabetic Patients

People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease, circulatory problems and damaged organs than people without the condition. Impaired blood circulation, particularly in the small blood vessels, contributes to damaged eyes, kidneys and feet. Thus, in caring for diabetic patients, doctors pay close attention to blood circulation. To date, there are not many ways of improving the damaged blood vessels that develop in atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

The fatty acids in fish oils, known as long-chain omega-3s, are known to improve blood vessel function in patients with heart disease. They relax the muscles in the blood vessel walls, reduce inflammation and lower blood clotting. These properties make them good candidates for improving blood vessel function in type 2 diabetics. Accordingly, a team of Japanese investigators examined the effect of consuming nearly 2 g/day of EPA, on the thickness of the carotid artery wall in diabetic patients. EPA is one of the major long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. This dose is about the equivalent of 2 servings of salmon/day. Study participants consumed the omega-3 supplements for 2 years. Patients who were given standard medical treatment, but no supplements, were used for comparison.

At the end of the study, patients consuming EPA had a significant decrease of 4.7% in the thickness of their carotid wall compared with an increase of 2.4% in patients receiving standard care. Measurements of blood flow also improved in the EPA patients. There was a small increase in glycosylated hemoglobin, a sensitive measure of elevated blood glucose, in the EPA group and a decrease in the control patients. While this outcome was undesirable, such values in individual patients would call for aggressive patient management. This finding indicates that diabetic patients who consume large amounts of fish oil should be regularly monitored by their doctors for blood glucose control. With regular check-ups, diabetic patients can obtain the heart and circulatory system benefits of fish oil without compromising their diabetes status. Overall, this study adds to the growing evidence that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may slow the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes or coronary artery disease.

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  2. What is Diabetes
  3. boosting omega-3 intake through diet or supplements might be a safer way to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with diabetes or pre-diabetes as well as helping to prevent retinopathy a major form of blindness
  4. Omega 3 fish oil may help activate anti-diabetic genes
  5. Omega-3-rich supplements may improve blood lipid levels of people with metabolic syndrome

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